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It’s Colorado Avalanche day on PHT

Aug 5, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

Matt Duchene Getty Images

Welcome to our offseason initiative — 30 teams in 30 days.

From July 16 until Aug. 14, we’ll be dedicating each day to a new team by recapping the offseason and looking ahead to 2012-13.

There will also be a series of posts looking at key stories, player profiles and burning questions regarding each squad.

Today we continue with the Colorado Avalanche.

Their glory days are behind them and even making the playoffs has been a monumental challenge for them lately. However, their might be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Colorado is a young team that’s slowly growing up together. Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly, Matt Duchene, Erik Johnson, and Semyon Varlamov are all 25 or younger and represent the foundation of what could be a pretty good squad. Not that they’ll have to do it alone, as Colorado also features several other gifted, slightly older players like Steve Downie and Paul Stastny.

Some of those guys have already dealt with a fair number of setbacks and hardships that will lead to some second guessing, but the talent is certainly there.

Colorado’s primary focus over the off-season was re-signing their small army of restricted free agents. However, they also added PA Parenteau, who will be looking to prove that he’s a capable top-line forward even if you separate him from John Tavares.

The Avalanche certainly have a number of exciting, or at least interesting pieces, but is it enough to make them competitors again? Stay tuned for our extended coverage of the Avalanche.

  1. polegojim - Aug 5, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Knew this one was coming… as terribly painful as it is.

    “The Avalanche certainly have a number of exciting… or at least interesting pieces” – very politely put Ray.

    The Avs have lived up to their name… crashing to lower elevations with irresistable force and haste.

    They have perfected the Art of ‘Perennial Rebuilding’ and going NOWHERE with it.

    Weak front office. Even weaker coaching. Horribly underachieving group.

    Very very VERY poorly done Mr. Sherman.

  2. jacketsfan7 - Aug 5, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I think they ( Colorado avalanche ) can be good just not great , [ meaning they can be a playoff team maybe 8th or 7th seed but I don’t think a “cup contender” just quite yet but you never know , just look at what L.A just did

  3. tru2joelu4eva - Aug 5, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    I agree with jacketsfan7. Personally, I believe that the Avs are just as talented offensively as most any team in the west. Surely more so than say, the Blues or the Predators, one of which is becoming a perennial playoff participant, the other a former Stanley Cup contender. Their problems on the ice involve mostly their defense and at times their goaltending. I believe there is reason for hope though, as Semyon Varlamov has shown streaks, even lengthy at times such as the last third or quarter of last season, of brilliance. EJ has shown the same potential, but even if he plays to his best abilities he still lacks a legitimate #2 partner. This is an issue that the Avs management has shown no intention, at least publicly, of addressing. I like Shane O’Brian and am glad that they re-signed him, but he is definitely not a #2 defender of a serious NHL team. as polegojim said, the Avs front office, management, and coaching all combine to form the team’s weakest link. Putting Duchene on the fourth line is NOT going to spark him offensively. I understand why they may not have pursued some of the bigger names in the free agency this year, and am truly excited to see PA Parenteau play next to Duchene. This core of young players will have to prove themselves before they are able to draw in the kind of talent, likely defensively, in the free agency that will improve the team and make good use of the team’s cap space. Remember, the Hawks made it to the Conference Finals before they landed Marian Hossa… This team will have to prove itself as is before any big name UFA’s will look their way, and hopefully this is something Avs will be able to accomplish over the next year or so. Denver and Colorado love the Avs, but it’s difficult for most people but the diehard fans to watch a cheap team that barely makes it above the cap floor miss the playoffs almost every year, especially considering the level of talent we were all “spoiled” with when the Avs first came to town.

    • polegojim - Aug 5, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      @tru2Joe – you say ” I believe that the Avs are just as talented offensively as most any team in the west”

      On what would you base that??? 25th out of 30 in the league in scoring???

      Talent is judged by results, not potential.

      You also said: “Denver and Colorado love the Avs, but it’s difficult for most people but the diehard fans to watch a cheap team that barely makes it above the cap floor miss the playoffs almost every year”

      That was BRILLIANTLY noted and sums up the feelings of ‘die hard’ fans as well.

      • tru2joelu4eva - Aug 5, 2012 at 11:27 PM

        I respectfully disagree, I think that talent is based on potential. With names like Landeskog, Duchene, Stastny, O’reilly, Mcginn, Parenteau (67 points last season….), and even Steve Downie, who could put up great numbers on the right line and in the right system, the Avs in my opinion will be fine offensively. It may not happen this season, but I am fully convinced that this group can come together just as well as any other in the West. Look at what Phoenix did, the Avs are much better up front than the Coyotes ever have been. Same with the Preds. Their big problem is the need for at least one more top D-man. We’ve all heard the same tired arguments, about how Sacco’s system doesn’t play to the strength of some of the skilled young forwards, blah blah blah. To anyone who questions the offensive talent of the Avs, look no further than Duchene’s between the legs goal against Pittsburgh, Landeskog’s coast to coast overtime winner (assist) against the Sabres, or O’reilly’s dominant pickpocket-to-overtime-goal against the Canes. The talent is clearly there, it just needs to be properly directed and developed.

      • polegojim - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        But TruJoe… there are no ‘Potential’ Stanley Cups available and I’ve never seen a Cup awarded to the team with the most ‘Perceived Talent’.

        You only win playoffs and a Cup when your talent = performance. Until then, it’s only hope.

        You either win and PROVE your talent or stay home and THINK you have potential.

        Which would you rather have?

        As long as HOPE and POTENTIAL remain the Avs strategy, you’ll enjoy much of the same.

        PS – I said MANY MANY times that Duchene and others have GREAT potential. Again your last sentence sums it all up correctly. Avs coaching and player development stinks…. period.

  4. emperorzero - Aug 5, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    What becomes frustrating with the Avalanche is the “potential” of the roster. For the past couple of years it has been real easy to see the Avalanche becoming a serious franchise if certain players take the next step; However, because of coaching or whatever, the Avs haven’t taken a step forward in a few years. There are about a dozen players on the roster that if they could take the next step, the Avalanche would be in the thick of it in the West. But, I haven’t seen anything in the recent history to suggest that will happen.

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